Maintenance, Trips


Note: This post was started in mid-March and completed today, April 18th

Even though we are trying to sell our E-trek, we still plan to take some trips to our usual spots over the next two months, probably two to Boston and at least one to Gettysburg. Our son, Ryan, was home for Spring Break this past week and it was unseasonably warm, so we decided it was time to de-winterize. We thought we might need to drive him back to Boston, due to the pending NJ Transit strike which could potentially disrupt his train travel, so we wanted to be prepared. As it turned out, he switched his reservation from Sunday (March 13th) to Friday (March 11th), to avoid the strike, and a possible ride back to Boston with us and the dogs (not his idea of a fun road trip!) Well the strike was settled, but nonetheless, he was on the train Friday. Prior to driving him to the train station, we performed step one of de-winterizing: sanitize the fresh water tank. After adding the diluted bleach to the fresh water tank, the instructions were to drive around for an our, so the round-trip to the train station was perfect.

IMG_0407   2016-0311 Metropark

Over the weekend, we drained the fresh water tank and refilled it with a mixture of fresh water and bleach as per the E-trek Owner’s Manual. We had purchased some heavy duty ramps to elevate the rear wheels, which made it easier for Karl to access the valves to take the Webasto out of bypass mode. The ramps had the added benefit of leveling the E-trek on our sloped driveway, which we thought would improve the accuracy of our water tank level readings.  We let the water run through all the faucets and opened the city water valve to flush out the antifreeze and the water smelled like bleach.

The next day, when we checked the water again, it was a little foamy and still smelled of antifreeze, so we emptied the fresh, grey and black water tanks, and repeated this step (i.e., refilled the fresh water tank with a mixture of fresh water and bleach), and ran it through all of the faucets, including the instant hot/cold water dispenser and opened the city water valve. Our intention was to check the water the following day, as the E-trek Owner’s Manual says to leave overnight.

At that point everything came to a halt. First of all, the following week was rainy followed by another snap of cold weather. Just when we thought Spring was finally here! Secondly, both Karl and I were sick with some virus that Ryan had shared with us while he was home for Spring Break. I basically didn’t do anything for two weeks. Karl, the breadwinner, suffered through his workdays, and loaded up on Sudafed and Mucinex at night.

Let the E-trek de-winterizing end!

Between illness, bad weather, and filing our taxes, we didn’t get back into this project until last week. Since it had been four weeks since we began the process, we had to start over with sanitizing the fresh water tank, driving for an hour (okay, five minutes), draining the fresh water, refilling with a mixture of water and bleach, and running the mixture through the lines with a little bleach. Fortunately, a day later, the water was clear (not foamy) and smelled of bleach, so we could drain the fresh water tanks and finish the final steps of E-trek de-winterizing, which include running more water through the faucets and changing the filter for the instant hot/cold water dispenser. Finally, after a month, we were de-winterized and are now ready to take a trip!

Our plan is to go to Gettysburg this weekend on the one-year anniversary our first overnight trip. If you have been following our blog, you know that’s when we first experienced problems with our E-trek, such as the inverter alarming and the Webasto launching into automatic drain mode due to the low battery charge. We wouldn’t discover the cause for a few months when, on the hottest day of the year, our engine overheated in Boston due to the serpentine belt slipping off the secondary alternator/underhood generator and wrapping around the engine fan. Now, with the secondary alternator replaced, battery balancer installed, as well as our upgrade to VoltStart, our E-trek is performing great!


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